By Alicia Steen and Lynae Steen
Vytria. Blue Soul, Jeshrun. Year After Shadow Two Thousand One Hundred.
A stillness seems to settle over the sea after the dark wizard himself became nevermore. This stillness is not an absence of movement; it feels more like a calm before a much bigger storm.
“Look.” Cyran directs my attention to the sky. “Fire is no longer falling.” He glances at the cliffs. Flashes of red-orange break up the dark clouds. “Though flame is still pounding the Dark Moon as hard as ever.”
“Is shadow waiting for something?” I scan the seas around me. Fewer ships than I expected have been destroyed. This calm seems to stretch over all of Blue Soul, even the cliffs. The gryphn that remain are perched on various masts, and the sailors seem to be taking their cue from them. All are waiting.
Something big is coming.
This strange silence stretches the minutes into hours.
“I’m not sure where is worse; here or over there,” I say, gesturing toward Fortress Dark Courage. The clouds of shadow are thickest in that direction, and even from here we can hear the clash of battle.
Cyran stares into the water. “Here.”
Erianna. Fortress Dark Courage: Dark Moon, Jeshrun.
“Grapplers!” the Captain’s voice roars out to all defending Dark Courage. Out of the dark mist strong iron teeth shoot straight towards the wall on which we stand. Immediately shadows pour forth onto the wall. Multicolored lights zip down from the wall into the hooks and the mist below. Mykai attaches a song barrier spell to at least twelve arrows and releases them in quick succession. I build up a sonic wall to try to knock down a guy with purple hair and orange eyes riding on the nearest grappler.
“Ah!” A surge of outside magic crashes into mine, splitting my outward flow of magic, taking my focus along with it.
The sonic spell bounces back into many who are fighting on the wall, knocking most off balance.
Mykai swings around and creates a musical wall to negate my spell.
Princess Erelynn doesn’t react quickly enough.
Synrn. Phoenix Tower: Dark Moon, Jeshrun.
“Ah, ah, I’m getting bored.” From the desk on the other side of the room, the view out the tall window isn’t very enticing.
“Whose fault is that?” Tetze asks without looking up from his papers.
“His!” A finger gestures to a painting on the wall of the Ancient of Days, portrayed as a white flame above the magical creatures. Truth be told, as many people didn’t come to Tetze’s office because of that painting as those who were nervous of Tetze himself.
Tetze sighs and moves his gaze past the window which frames the cliffs and the sea beyond. “There seems to be movement on the cliffs.”
“Really?” A closer inspection of the view causes a smile.
Looks like they will be coming soon.
“Let’s go.” Without giving Tetze any warning or room to object, action exchanges the stone floor for the strong wings of a phoenix. Tetze mounts a phoenix on the roof of the tower and follows.
This will not be a scene to miss.
As red feathers carry us to the Crystal Falls of the cliffs, clouds of shadow rumble in the distance toward Dark Courage.
Erianna. Fortress Dark Courage: Dark Moon, Jeshrun.
Another magic wizard forces magic into Mykai’s wall, nullifying the spell and causing my sonic spell to slam into her.
I swing my sword through two shadows and rush to help Erelynn, my nearest comrade, up again.
Oof! Something hard slams into my chest, causing me to fall. Erelynn and I look up to see a woman with greyish-black hair and gleaming yellow eyes with a fan in her right hand. I reform my swords into several daggers and swing them at her, releasing a sonic blast from them that slices every shadow within the vicinity of the daggers.
“Such destruction,” she lets out a sickeningly sweet laugh and raises her hand. My wooden daggers freeze inside the polluted ice. “Imperfect magic is never long in defeat.”
“The Ancient of Days does not give imperfect magic,” I lift myself up and call my daggers back, forming them into swords. In one swift motion, I charge forward and channel sonic waves inside my sword.
The orange-haired General splits it again.
My swords shatter. My waves expand, threatening to miss the General I am aiming for. I is all I can do to keep them I that general direction.
My waves freeze in their tracks.
I form my shattered swords into a bow and arrows, unleashing several sonic arrows in several directions. Erelynn twirls her violet light toward my arrows and inserts it into the wood. Mykai adds her musical waves to mine, doubling their strength.
“Sunder,” the orange haired dark wizard General separates the three different spells from inside the wood, causing my spells to shatter the wood and everything else that happens to be in its way.
I feel Mykai’s song waves vibrate inside my sonic waves and direct them into the stone. Part of the stone vibrates under magical strain, but still does not break. That’s a first.
“Go to the towers!” the Dark Moon Captain drives a hammer into several shadows trying to get on the wall. “Lords of Magic, get to the wizard towers!”
The wizard towers. The three towers where three wizards fight off any incoming invasion. One or two wizards can make a tremendous difference, but whole battles can be lost if all three towers aren’t defended.
“Where?” I shout, swinging my hands to knit the wood chips back into swords. The chips flutter at my feet as I notice a black-haired female dark wizard sending break spells into the wood to cancel my magic.
“There is one north, one west, and one east,”—the Captain ducks under a slash from above—“We are on the western wall. If you follow the wall into the corridors there should be some stairs leading upwards into the wizard towers,” he crouches and swings his hammer in a circle from below.
Erelynn throws a couple serids into the first female dark wizard. She bats the light and the serids away effortlessly, tossing an ice lance Erelynn’s direction. “I’ll take this side,” Erelynn says.
“Really?” the black-haired woman swings a chain Erelynn’s direction. Erelynn dodges with a bruise on her left shoulder.
I block a side blow with my left arm, grunting as I do. My fox lunges with claws and teeth, latching onto the shadow that is attacking me.
Mykai vaults herself in the air to dodge a slice from below and shoots eleven song arrows successively. “I’ll take the East,” she says. The male general causes Mykai’s spells to expand and cancel themselves out. Her Rnbar violently slashes its claws at him, but he steps out of its range. He glances at the woman holding the fan, the first female dark wizard. She lowers her chin.
I nod at both of my fellow lords. “I’ll go north,” I tell them, tossing the chips to release a sonic attack on the dark wizard holding the fan. She raises her hand to unleash a stream of polluted ice that halts my waves. Mykai sends a song spell into my sonic waves to drive them forward. The male dark wizard moves to sunder the spells, causing Mykai and me to struggle for control. Erelynn sends light magic our way to boost our magic. The second female dark wizard steps in front of it and casts a counter spell to nullify the magic.
I am too busy trying not to knock friendly Dark Moon soldiers off the wall to dodge the first female Dark Wizard’s polluted ice lance. I drop and roll, ending up with a gash across my forearm. I roll again away from a downward strike. Using my feet to kick the lance out of the way, I leap up and force my erratic sound waves in her direction. One of Mykai’s arrows flies through my sonic spell and picks part of it up, piercing through three rows of shadows. Erelynn’s violet light wraps around the arrow in the same move.
The male dark wizard releases a counter spell to shatter the magic within the arrow. The first female dark wizard blocks with polluted ice, and strikes with it from below in one motion. I have to use a grappler as leverage to vault off so my feet aren’t cut off.
I don’t see the second female dark wizard’s iron chain coming in from the left.
And air is all that waits behind me.
Synrn. Crystal Falls: Dark Moon, Jeshrun.
As soon as red feathers land near the crystal falls along the cliffs, several of the nearest captains flock to Tetze.
“General, those fireballs have decimated our troops along the cliffs. We continue to fight, but we may not be able to last the night.”
“General, the numbers of gryphn have dropped alarmingly. Shadow creatures have grown bolder; we need reinforcements!”
“General, the shadows have ceased their attack. They may be regrouping for a second wave.”
The clamor for Tetze’s attention continues. Certainly, from surveying the seas and the nervous lines of men in front of the cliffs, their reports seem accurate.
However, we are of clan Dark Moon.
“Enemies may move in on every side, yet we are not abandoned. Though we are perplexed, we are not despondent. Many swords have thrown us down, but we are not destroyed. We are broken, but we are not crushed. The excellent power of the Ancient of Days is sufficient to banish this shadow to the darkness; therefore, we do not lose heart.
“A dark moon may shine upon our battle, but never shall Shadow claim it. For we walk with giants.”
The clamor has quieted. Kyle, the most powerful Lord, stands on a rock on to the waterfall with an expression he only wears when he gets serious.
The captains have followed my gaze. “Him? He stopped attacking when the fire rained down.”
Their ignorance prompts a smile. “Watch.”